the right to a nationality

The right to a nationality

Your rights under the UNCRC

UNCRC, Article 7: It’s your right to have a nationality.

Your rights under Irish law

- Under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 2004, it’s your right to be a citizen of Ireland if you were born in Ireland after 1 January 2005 and if either one or both of your parents are Irish citizens.

- Under the Irish Constitution, it’s your right to apply for a passport if you are an Irish citizen. Freedom of movement is one of your fundamental rights.

Did you know?

  • At the time of the 2011 Census, 199 nationalities were living in Ireland.
  • If you are born in Ireland, and your parent(s) are Irish citizens, then you are also an Irish citizen. However, if you’re born in Ireland, but your parents are not Irish citizens, then you must wait 3 years before you can be an Irish citizen.
  • Irish citizenship means that you are legally recognised as being a national of Ireland. This means you have all the rights that the Constitution of Ireland gives you.
  • Being stateless means that a person does not have a nationality. Children who are stateless can face obstacles to things like education and healthcare and they cannot enjoy their rights in the same way as children who have a nationality.
  • In Ireland you are entitled to dual nationality. This means that if you are born in another country, and have another passport but then move to Ireland, you have the right to have two passports. In some countries, like the US, you can only have one nationality and it means that you have to give up your second passport.
  • Due to concerns over Brexit, 250,000 people applied for an Irish passport in early 2017, an increase of 26% on the same time in 2016.  There was also an increase of 68% in applications for an Irish passport from people born in Northern Ireland, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • There are many people around the world who claim Irish heritage and say they have an Irish background. Irish people have emigrated to many countries all over the world, in particular the US, Australia and the UK. According to a UN international migration study, 771,572 people born in Ireland were reported to be living in 72 different countries in 2013.

Hear your right – read by Sean McGinnity


As Gaelige

Tá sé de cheart agat ainm a bheith agat, agus go ndéanfadh an rialtas tú a aithint go hoifigiúil. Tá sé de cheart agat náisiúntacht a bheith agat (go mbainfeá le tír áirithe).

Éist le do chearta – léite ag Luke Ó Murchú


What children and young people are saying

  • Children and young people share their views on children’s rights to survive and develop

Find out more

  • Humanium – Find out more about children’s right to an identity, which includes a right to a name and nationality
  • UN Refugee Agency - Find what being ‘stateless’ means from the UN Refugee Agency
  • Migrants Rights Council Ireland – What does it feel like to be stateless? A video of young people living in Ireland sharing their experiences in Young Paperless and Powerful.

Explore More – Resource materials for Teachers & Educators

    • Equality Authority et al – ‘Using an Inter Cultural Display’. An action for TY students to explore different nationalities and cultural groups in their community. In Grounds for Action. Building a Culture of Equality in our Society (2012), pp.46-47.
    • UNHCR – ‘Against All Odds’. A game to support young people to experience what it is like to be a refugee (2005).